neighborhood hoodlums


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HABU
December 29, 2002, 08:47 PM
I just came in from pounding out the mailbox. It seems some local hoodlums have taken to smashing mailboxes and slashing tires (two of which were mine). This is the third time our mailbox has hosted batting practice. I almost went out last night and hid in the bushes, now I wish I would have. My son is 14 and willing to introduce the offenders face to his fist as no doubt its kids pulling this crap.

I want to be packing in case I confront these little bastards and they pull a weapon on me. On the other hand, I can hear some POS prossecuting attorney making his case for first degree murder because I was waiting in the bushes so I could shoot a teenager. Im not anxious to shoot anyone, but am willing to protect myself.

I have called the cops, but we all know that even If someone does catch these kids that they will have to confess to a prior crime (like the stabbing of my tires) for me to receive any satisfaction. They will only get busted for the offense they are commiting at the time of capture, then they will probably only get a slap on the wrist. Afterall, its only a mail box and a couple tires. :rolleyes:

What's your take on this situation?

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PATH
December 29, 2002, 08:51 PM
Wait and capture little S#*%ts but do not confront them with a pistol.

HABU
December 29, 2002, 08:59 PM
Originally posted by PATH
Wait and capture little S#*%ts but do not confront them with a pistol.

The only time the pistol will come into play is I have to defend myself against a deadly weapon. I would feel pretty dumb if said S#*%ts pulled his gat on me and there I was with my face hanging out and my pistol in the safe.

AZTOY
December 29, 2002, 09:02 PM
Fill the mail box with clement. :D

Jorah
December 29, 2002, 09:02 PM
strengthen the mail box.

The legal fees to defend yourself will be far, far worse than buying a new mailbox or putting a welded cage over it.

I feel anger when stuff like that happens to me, but my own take on it (having been burned once or twice) is that reacting as you'd like tends to end up bad.

Any chance you could get photos of the car doing the drive-by?

We had people stoning our house for several years when I was a kid; police were sympathetic, but told us that unless we could get ID on the car, there wasn't anything they could do. (Really, I suspect that the cops themselves would have had to have seen it happen before they'd have done anything!)

:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

My dad wanted to put a rock through the windshield of their truck; excalating the situation to assault and battery probably would have gotten HIM in jail, not the other way around.

People around here build iron-bar cages around their mailboxes... other people put heavy posts on each side of the box...

Sisco
December 29, 2002, 09:04 PM
Latest fad here is to shoot out car windows with a pellet gun then fire paintballs into the car through the missing window.
Two LEO's came to my house Thanksgiving morning to tell me about the broken window in my daughters car.

(That's almost a story in itself, was waiting for buddies to pick me up to go hunting. Heard the car pull up, grabbed my shotgun and headed for the door. Saw who it was, put the shotgun away!)

I told them that apparently the Neighborhood Watch sign wasn't working too well and that I wanted to replace it with a Neighborhood Vigilante sign.
The officer informed me that vigilantes were hard to catch. ;)

George Hill
December 29, 2002, 09:06 PM
When I was a punk kid, I played mailbox baseball from the window of a car driven by friends.
Until one day I was pitched a mailbox made from cast iron.

OUCH!

Never did that crap again!

I suggest finding something armored.

Chris Rhines
December 29, 2002, 09:07 PM
Don't even think about confronting the punks. A mailbox, tires, and your injured pride aren't worth it.

Instead, be smart.

1.) Get a large mailbox and a small one. Also pick up a bag of ready-mix concrete.
2.) Remove the door from the small mailbox and stand it up inside the large one. Mix up the concrete and fill the space between the two. Let it set.
3.) Mount your new mailbox on a heavy post.
4.) Next twit who takes a baseball bat to your mailbox will most likely learn his lesson. :D

- Chris

Wakal
December 29, 2002, 09:13 PM
Chris's idea is elegant...I'd go that way, were I to do it again.

Mine was more work. Welded up a mailbox out of 1/2" steel and used a few yards of concrete to set the drill rod as a base.

Ouch.



Alex

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
December 29, 2002, 09:14 PM
My brother used to have a similar problem out in the country with his mailbox. Little idjits would take the tall 4wd and just drive over the top of it, post and all. He resolved it by implanting a piece of oilfield casing (heavy gauge exterior pipe for an oilwell) in a hole roughly 5 feet deep, securing said pipe with concrete. Affixed on top of the pipe was his USPS-approved cutesy little mailbox.

Within a week he had impaled a truck full of inebriated teens with 2 mailboxes from down the road inside said truck. No persons were injusted, just extremely unnerved when that pipe came through the floorboards when they set the hookat 2 AM tat fateful morning. I just love night fishing.

Took 2 tow trucks to lift that Chevy off the pole. I bet someone's daddy was pissed.

Some folks just can't discriminate an easy target from a hard one.

Regards,
Rabbit.

telewinz
December 29, 2002, 09:16 PM
Being employed by Corrections, be real careful. Why not just settle to get their license number and shoot them with a camera. They will still get nailed but you won't!

Zundfolge
December 29, 2002, 09:28 PM
Chris Rhines' method is the best.

Back in highschool I knew a guy who bragged about playing "Mailbox Baseball" (among other forms of vandalism).

His mailbox baseball career ended abruptly upon hitting a mailbox exactly like Chris described.

Shattered his Louisville Slugger and his right arm ... I don't think he ever regained 100% use of it :)

piccolo
December 29, 2002, 09:35 PM
solved a little problem like that some time back. Ask me again in a coupla years when the Statute of Limitations passes by.[:D]

cratz2
December 29, 2002, 09:44 PM
If you're technically minded, get a little camera and aim it where the cars are parked. Record the feed until something happens.

For the mailbox, those polymer boxes do a pretty good job resisting changing their shape.

Luckily, I've never had a problem with kids in our neighborhood. Both of our cars are parked in the garage 99% of the time but I think if the tires started getting slashed, I'd report it at first then consider it a threat the second time it happend. Of course, the type of person that I am, I'd be in the window FOREVER waiting for the little s**t to show up again. And I'd throw every little pocket knife, hunting knife and kitchen knife (that cost less than $20, of course) at them.

But that's just me.

pax
December 29, 2002, 09:49 PM
We've used Chris' method. Right up until a lady from our church lost control of the pickup truck she was driving to town one Saturday morning, and ran over the whole shebang. Felt a little bad that our extra sturdy mailbox gave her an extra large dent in the front of her truck. Didn't feel like going to all the work of reconstructing the durn thing, either.

Mostly, though, we just got tired of playing the game. In the race between better weapons and thicker armor, weapons always win. *shrug*

Got a P.O. box instead. Let 'em try to knock that over!

pax

There are more fools in the world than there are people. -- Heinrich Heine

sonny
December 29, 2002, 09:56 PM
.......................VIDEO CAMERA!.......................................

sonny
December 29, 2002, 10:00 PM
Hidden of course! ......with a motion sensor....not as expensive as you may think.....get a cheapo mailbox till you get the little rascals on tape.

HABU
December 29, 2002, 10:06 PM
I like Chris' idea. Working in construction, concrete is easy to come by. I'll let the plant mix it (readymix, BAH!). I better do something about the 4X4 post though. I can see someone teeing off on the box, getting rung up by the concrete and kicking the post over.:p

sonny
December 29, 2002, 10:19 PM
I like Chris' idea too ,but for some funny reason I get the feeling that those punks could end up suing you for something or another.What do you think?...Any lawyers out there?

Dogsoldier
December 29, 2002, 10:43 PM
Hello, my name is Dogsoldier and I too am a victim of mail box baseball thugs.

My wife liked to paint the mail box to "pretty it up". The last one she did looked like a cat sitting on the post. I warned her...

WIthin a week, it was smashed. I straightened it, it got smashed again. This time, the badguys pushed over the 4X4 post it was sitting on.

I put a section of heavy walled 4X4 steel square tubin in the ground and filled the hole with about 100 pounds of cement. Then the cavity of the steel tube was filled with sand that I packed down.

Out came the mig welder. I made the mail box out of some 3/8" plate. Then it was welded to the post. Went in to the house and told the Mrs. to go paint the mailbox. Another kitty sitting on the post.

About a week later we heard a scream from outside. I went outside to find a 16 year old goof ball rolling around in the driveway crying holding his hand. His buddies were standing there all confused. Kneeling next to him was some little doxy that I took to be his girl friend, whom Tarzan was trying to impress. Yep, this was the guy smashing my mail box. Apparently to impress the girl he punched the box.

Never had a thing happen to the mail box again.

Preacherman
December 30, 2002, 12:18 AM
There's always the South African version... Guy I know had this problem. He fixed it with a little creative thinking and application of his Special Forces dirty-tricks repertoire. He put a thunderflash (what I've heard called a "flash-bang" over here) in his mailbox, and in front of it, a plastic Zip-loc bag filled with fluorescent orange paint. He then took off the screws of the mailbox door, so that it was simply resting on the mailbox by its rim, and would fly off freely when the thunderflash went off and pumped all the paint out. The final touch was a detonator in the thunderflash, wired to four contact fuses, distributed strategically on the top and sides of the box. Then he waited... That evening at about 11, there was a thunderous explosion, the screeching of tires, and a loud crunching sound. A carload of teenage punks had been driving down the road, with one of said punks bashing boxes with a cricket bat (think of a rectangular-cross-section baseball bat). Punk hit maibox: mailbox went BANG!: paint flew out of mailbox into open window of car, drenching all four occupants and making daddy's expensive car seem rather hippy-ish inside: driver lost control while trying to get paint out of his eyes: and car ended up in rock garden of neighbor across the road, from where it was eventually extracted (at considerable expense) by a tow truck, observed by owner of car, who had already administered wonderfully detailed thrashing to his son and was threatening to find the other three idiots and do worse to them. Now and again, good things do happen to bad people... :D :D :D

sm
December 30, 2002, 12:32 AM
Went through mailbox baseball years ago. On my short street We all removed our mailboxes for about a week (postman as a neighbor and a retired LEO) Kinda surprised the youths. Duh whats up ?? No mailboxes ??
Even more surprised when LEO was waiting and caught underage youths with alcohol...in a dry county.

Mike Irwin
December 30, 2002, 12:54 AM
Do what friends did.

Had a mailbox fabricated out of 1/4" cold rolled steel. Looked just like the real thing, until someone tried to hit it with a baseball bat.

Day later a neighborhood kid showed up with a cast on his arm...

Zorro
December 30, 2002, 01:16 AM
.22 Cal Pellet in the Ass out of a gun I do not posses.

And never talk about it.

WilderBill
December 30, 2002, 01:52 AM
I don't have a mailbox by the street, but I like Sonny's motion detector activated camera idea.
Wish I'd had one when my car got the tires stolen!

Dan Shapiro
December 30, 2002, 02:05 AM
They will only get busted for the offense they are commiting at the time of capture, then they will probably only get a slap on the wrist.

If the cops are worth anything they should be able to get one of the kids to narc on the whole group for everything.

gwalchmai
December 30, 2002, 08:07 AM
Seems to me that if you get everyone in the neighborhood aware of the problem, eventually someone will see it happening, and perhaps record it.

foghornl
December 30, 2002, 08:22 AM
X-10 Video Cams and motion detectors are inexpensive; you can make up a "record the action" set for under $300, including cheap VCR.

My former in-laws had this same mailbox road-eo knockdown problem about 20 years back....The then father-in-law solved it this way....

Took a piece of railroad rail about 8 ft long, buried one end in a 4x4x4 foot hole filled with concrete, welded on a slab of 3/4" steel plate, bolted mailbox to plate, and armored the mailbox with 1/2" steel plate. After the 3rd punky boys car got towed away, the problem stopped. :D

Rangerover
December 30, 2002, 08:39 AM
If I ever face this problem, I'm going the "Armored Mailbox" route. Some diseased personality isn't going to remember a few minutes in Juvie Court and I wouldn't waste my time trying to photograph the perps.

Pain will do more to calm those raging teenage hormones than the law ever could, and experience is the best teacher.

Got a "Little Red Wagon"? Well, bring it with you, sonny. The folks at THR have figured out how to fix it for you.

Best solution to a common nuisance I've heard in years.

GD
December 30, 2002, 09:04 AM
We had two different cases in the Wichita area concerning vandalism by teens and two very different outcomes.

Case1: Guy comes out of his house and two kids are breaking into his car. He fires a shot that he testifies was a warning shot and kills one of the kids. He is aquitted by a jury. I got to talk to the other kid - they had performed a lot of buglaries and vandalisms in his friends short life.

Case2: Car load of kids performing a 2nd vandalism of a mailbox (there had been other vandalisms on this house - apparently by kids bullying the owners kid). This time dad and kid were in waiting with a firearm. They pursued these kids firing from the vehicle. One kid was hit and killed. This time a jury found the owner guilty and gave him prison and his son juvenile detention. Sad story.

I think the difference was that Case 2 went in pursuit of fleeing criminals. The jury believed that this was a revenge killing. Their belief in the 1st case was the owner was protecting himself and his property and it was an accident.

In your case, waiting for the criminals to show up makes your situation more like case 2. Be careful.

King
December 30, 2002, 09:18 AM
I believe that if you set a trap for these punks and then physically hurt one of them (ie; the 2nd case in the previous post), you'll be in a world of hurt. Best to go another route.

Interestingly though, there are a lot of interesting mailbox solutions here. Just goes to show you that neccessity is and can indeed be the mother of invention.

Sisco
December 30, 2002, 09:53 AM
GD I'm glad you brought those two cases up, I was trying to remember the details.
I like Chris' idea too ,but for some funny reason I get the feeling that those punks could end up suing you for something or another.What do you think?...Any lawyers out there?
Happened here several years ago, the mailbox was located in a rural area alongside the highway. Homeowner had bulit the type of post you described, a car lost control and ran into it at about 60mph. Don't remember what the exact charges were but it was something along the lines of placing an solid object beside the roadway.

Rangerover
December 30, 2002, 10:01 AM
Would be a good idea to check local ordinances. Around where I live several people have their mailboxes ensconced in concrete, like little bunkers. I'm one of those "book smart" but "no common sense" people; I always figured it was just for decorative purposes or something until I read this thread.

If I am ever forced to "armor" my mailbox, I'll certainly make sure it's legal to do so.

Ala Dan
December 30, 2002, 10:13 AM
Fortunately, this is one problem that I DO NOT have! Most
of the area hoodlums know that I'm a ex-LEO; therefore
they avoid me and my property like the plague!

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

MR.G
December 30, 2002, 11:13 AM
Happens around here every few years. Eventually the kids get tired of doing it, or grow up. Then some time later some other kids get the idea and start doing it. I have a rubber mailbox, that I got at Home Depot, on a steel post. It is set it in concrete. I paid about $6.00 for the box. It has survived several attacks so far. The cost to defend yourself on a charge of assualt with a firearm is far more than the price of a mailbox. Even if you get these kids, more will eventually come along. It makes you mad, but we have more important things to deal with and defend right now.

MarineTech
December 30, 2002, 09:22 PM
My uncle had a similar problem and came up with a novel solution. He was a farmer in a rural area of Maine and his mailbox would get destroyed by kids in the summer, and smashed by the snowplow in the winter. He came up with a rather novel solution. He welded a box out of 1/4" steel and then mounted it onto the big coil suspension spring from a 3 ton potato truck (about the same as a 3 ton flatbed truck). Any impacts to the box would just tip it over and then it would wobble its way back up just like a weeble. That thing has lasted 12 years now with nothing more than a new paint job.

another okie
December 30, 2002, 10:08 PM
One of my neighbors has one of heavy steel mounted on a steel post and set in concrete. It does have a little dent in it, but I bet it hurt to do it!

I have a post office box, an easy solution. And why take a chance on someone stealing your mail?

Cabela's sells those cameras for deer hunters, and they would work fine for mailbox smashers.

Sergeant Bob
January 1, 2003, 03:25 AM
I have called the cops, but we all know that even If someone does catch these kids that they will have to confess to a prior crime (like the stabbing of my tires) for me to receive any satisfaction. They will only get busted for the offense they are commiting at the time of capture, then they will probably only get a slap on the wrist. Afterall, its only a mail box and a couple tires.
That may not be the case. My nephew was caught "dinging" mailboxes when he was 18 or so. He was convicted of a felony , for interfering with the U.S. Mail, that's a Federal rap. He spent 6 months in jail for that little suarez. He learned from his experience, though it was a very expensive lesson.
That said, I've been the victim of some "dingers" twice in the past two weeks, and am going to look into the viability of some of the options mentioned here.

Drjones
January 1, 2003, 06:20 AM
I'll just add to the fray:

Dude, seriously; its just property. Until the laws get changed so that you CAN shoot someone over property, let it go...

Do as others have suggested and get a cement-filled mailbox.

They're just stupid little kids, and I am not sure they deserve bullets for a bit of vandalism...

I think one good lesson (like a cast-iron mailbox, as suggested!) would instantly free them of the desire to pursue these actions in the future....:evil:

Drjones
January 1, 2003, 06:23 AM
Don't remember what the exact charges were but it was something along the lines of placing an solid object beside the roadway.

Oh, you mean like a median? :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

This isn't directed at you, by any means, but PLEASE don't tell me there is such a law....:fire: :banghead:

NoBite
January 1, 2003, 06:47 AM
Love this thread because it reminds me of our first weekend living in the country. We moved into our new house on a Friday. Saturday evening, about dusk, we heard gunshots nearby. Less than five minutes later a truck coming roaring up our long driveway. A guy jumps out and comes running to the front door, both hands straight up in the air (apparently to show he was unarmed.) Cautiously, I cracked open the front door a bit. He informed me he was our neighbor from up the gravel road a bit. He inquired if we had seen a white chevy truck with a bunch of kids in it. No, we hadn't. The deal was these kids had just bashed his mailbox for the umpteenth time. The neighbor happened to be in his yard and witnessed the bashing. Thinking (?) quickly, he grabbed his .357 from his car and fired several rounds into the air to shock/scare the kids.

No sooner had he gotten this story out of his mouth, another truck came tearing up our driveway! This time two guys got out and just kind of saundered up the sidewalk. By now, my wife and I were on the front porch in amazement at meeting our neighbors in this manner. It seems the other two guys were responding to a citizen-in-distress phone call they received from the elderly lady that also lived up the gravel road. She had heard the gunshots and called the self-proclaimed "neighborhood vigillantes" to investigate. Upon hearing the story, these two fellows informed neighbor #1 that the little old lady had also called the Sheriff and would he please use better judgement next time! At least call the little old lady and tell her not to be worried.

Everyone went back to their respective turfs and I looked at the clock on the wall. 7:15 PM. At about 7:43 PM, a Sheriff's car came down the road with search light searching. I figured right then that the response time to "shots fired" was roughly about 40 minutes. That told me all I needed to know about the need to take personal responsibility for my family's protection! BTW, I made friends with the "neighborhood vigillantes." They really are great guys and have helped me out of a couple tight situations.

Oh yes, to get back to the topic at hand, neighbor #1 changed his mailbox to one of those rubber ones that seem to bounce back from bashings. It's been six years since that incident and we haven't been bothered with mailbox bashers since.

Cougar
January 1, 2003, 07:57 AM
As a mail carrier myself, I can tell you that the better one-piece mailboxes like the Step 2 ( www.step2.com ) mailmaster series sold at most home centers are pretty much impervious to neighborhood vandals. It generally takes a direct hit from a car or snowplow to do one of these in. At around $40-50 for the whole shebang (post/box) this is about the best solution. Some models even have a provision for an integrated newspaper recepticle as well. They look nice and neat, come in many non-fade colors, many styles, don't rust, and take most abuse in stride.

Yes, many communities/counties have restrictions on placing solid objects near the right of way, and this precludes many of the stronger mailbox or post designs. A couple of neighbors here in our rural area were told to cease and desist from building brick enclosures for thier mailboxes. We live on a County road, and that carries the restriction. If you really think about it, many of the highway sign and lightposts alongside the road are made to be break-away in the case they're hit by cars.

As for making the box itself heavy, like from 1/4" plate steel or similar, you might run into a problem if someone accidentally runs off the road, hits the box, and that 40-pound chunk of steel goes through the windshield and kills someone. Those bottom-feeding lawyers will try every trick in the book to get big $$$$ out of you if this were to happen. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the USPS itself has a regulation regarding the max weight of a residential curbside mailbox for this very reason. I'll have to check into that.

I have seen some people put guards in front of their mailboxes. Over in heavy snowfall areas, on the major roads where the snow plows are really moving, that thrown snow can take out a box rather easily. They use a couple of 1-1/2"-2" galanized metal pipes embedded in the concrete and on front and back corners of the traffic side of the mailbox, connected at the top with elbows and another short section of pipe. It looks like a big inverted 'U' . In winter they fasten a piece of plywood between the two uprights and that breaks up or deflects the snow thrown from the plows. A side benefit is the mailbox now has a steel pipe guard in front of it to discourage baseball-bat wielding punks in cars.

redneck2
January 1, 2003, 09:51 AM
some of the more interesting local youths were doing the mailbox thing

one neighbor that they didn't like, and had been a victim numerous times, put upright pipes along each side of the mailbox...so, to get at it, the little darling tried to hit straight down as they drove by...

he neglected to consider what would happen when the car was still moving and the ball bat was stuck between the pipes

after getting out of the hospital with his cast, his father sued the homeowner for setting a "trap" ......and won

Didn't say it's right or I like it, but it's true. Happened in St. John, IN. Refer to above thread about bottom feeding lawyers

Apple a Day
January 1, 2003, 10:13 AM
Here is another mechanical solution:
If you can move the post back a couple of feet then do so. Go to the local hardware store and get a spring-loaded hinge... they make heavy duty ones for gates and they're cheap. Take a couple of pieces of wood (say, cheap pine 2x4s) and make an arm coming out of the post, attached with the spring-loaded hinge, then attach the mailbox to the downwind side of the arm.
That will make the mailbox harder to hit [being on the back side of the arm] and if they do manage to hit it the spring/hinge will absorb the blow. :neener: The spring/hinge will also avoid harpooning someone's car.

I had a similar sort of incident this past Halloween with some hoodlums smashing pumpkins. I was just sitting down at the end of the allotted trick-or-treat time for the town when a kid walked up and nabbed my remaining Jack O' Lantern. I started with 2 and one had already disappeared. I ran the kid down and yelled at him, called his parents. The parents were worse than the kid... the worst sort of trash, probably future guests on the Jerry Springer show. I had a cop stop by and chew the kid out. Apparently he and his buddies are in trouble quite often. The next morning after calming down- more angry at the parents than the kids- I was wondering if I hadn't overreacted; then the kid next door came out, saw the pumpkin she had taken hours carving smashed all over the parking lot, and started bawling. She's ~8 years old. I'm not the emotional sort but I got choked up seeing a little girl that hearbroken. I'm glad I got the little ***** that did it. :cuss:

ojibweindian
January 1, 2003, 10:56 AM
As far as I know, my little redneck area of the backwoods does not have this kind of problem. Way too many people around here who deal with this kind of problem the old-fashioned way.

Robby from Long Island
January 1, 2003, 01:38 PM
Boy, do I feel lucky. I live in the suburbs where most of the people have their mailboxes attached to the front of their houses by the front door.

Of course they could use shoulder fired missles...........:D

Walther P99
January 1, 2003, 01:59 PM
The steel/concrete solution has definite potential.

I agree with the person who said pain will do a lot more than the law ever will. 100% true.

sasnofear
January 1, 2003, 08:03 PM
Post deleted by moderator Preacherman, 01/01/03, 7.43 p.m.

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